Into the Little Hill is a multi-disciplinary re-telling of the classic Pied Piper tale. Performances take place May 19 and 20 at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. (photo by Flick Harrison)
In partnership with Simon Fraser University’s Woodward’s Cultural Programs, Astrolabe Musik Theatre presents the Canadian première of the chamber opera Into the Little Hill, a contemporary re-telling of the Pied Piper tale, with direction and choreography by Idan Cohen of Ne.Sans Opera and Dance, and musical direction by conductor Leslie Dala. Performances take place May 19 and 20, 7:30 p.m., at SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre.
Into the Little Hill – by composer and classical musician George Benjamin with libretto by playwright and theatre translator Martin Crimp – is an unflinching look at our response to the “Other.” A mysterious stranger rids a town of its rats, only to also make its children disappear when his promised payment is withheld. The story evokes many questions. Who do we deem as “rats” in our society? Who gets to decide? What are we willing to do to get rid of them? And what are the consequences when we refuse to “pay the piper,” i.e. refuse to accept responsibility for the outcomes of our actions?
All six characters (the Crowd, the Stranger, the Narrator, the Minister, the Minister’s Wife and the Minister’s Child) are sung by mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson and soprano Heather Pawsey. The orchestration for this production includes bass flute, basset horns, mandolin and banjo. And, in a multi-disciplinary staging, Astrolabe’s production incorporates dancers Juolin Lee, Daria Mikhalyluk and Hana Rutka.
“It has always been my vision to have dancers as part of this intensely dramatic opera,” said Pawsey, Astrolabe’s artistic director.
Lighting design for the production is by Victoria Bell; the costume design, by Elena Razlog.
Ne.Sans Opera and Dance’s Cohen was born and raised in Israel, on Kibbutz Mizra. After being trained as a classical pianist, he studied theatre and fine arts at the Art Colony, in Israel. At the age of 20, he participated in a video-dance project by Batsheva dance company dancer Lara Bersak before joining, in 1998, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, where he danced for seven seasons. Since 2005, Cohen has been creating, performing and teaching.
For tickets to Into the Little Hill, go to eventbrite.ca/e/into-the-little-hill-tickets-609025460547.
– Courtesy Astrolabe Musik Theatre